Feeds

First details on EC data protection action against UK revealed

Commission at last explains why it gave UK a Data Protection Directive fail ...

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Details of the European Commission's objections to the Data Protection Act (DPA) have been revealed for the first time. A document has been published outlining why the Commission thinks the DPA fails to implement the EU's Data Protection Directive.

The information is contained in a Commission response to a four-year-old freedom of information request by privacy and data protection specialist Chris Pounder. Pounder was only sent the material after the European Ombudsman intervened.

It was already known that the Commission has objected to the DPA, saying that it fails to implement 11 of the Directive's 34 articles. The Commission is taking infringement proceedings against the UK based on its claims that the DPA fails to implement articles 2, 3, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 22, 23, 25 and 28 of the Directive.

The document sent to Pounder gives a small amount of detail on each of those 11 sections.

"Article 12 of the Directive gives data subjects the right to check the accuracy of their data, ensure that the data are being kept up-to-date, and have their data rectified, erased or blocked if necessary," said the Commission's explanation (five-page/168KB PDF). "The Data Protection Act, however, appears to confer upon the courts a discretion to grant or refuse applications made by data subjects in this regard."

The document said that the Commission also objected to the way that the DPA appears to "narrow the scope of non-material damage", impacting on the compensation that people can be awarded for damage resulting from data-protection law breaches.

It also said that it had concerns about whether or not "the supervisory authority" – meaning the Information Commissioner's Office – has sufficient powers.

The Commission is challenging not only the Government's interpretation of the Directive but also that of the courts. It said that it had concerns about a ruling in the case of Michael Durant, who tried but failed to access information about himself held by the Financial Services Authority.

"The issue regarding Article 2 concerns the definition of 'filing system', and the interpretation of this definition in the judgment in the 'Durant' case, which appeared to be narrower than that in the Directive," said the document.

The Commission also has concerns about what information people can demand from organisations about themselves; about whether information about criminal offences is treated differently to other information; and about the way in which organisations' assessment of third countries' data-protection systems is monitored.

Pounder was sent the information after a long process, in which he had enlisted the help of the European Ombudsman, who recommended that the Commission give him "summary information". The initial request for information was made in April 2007.

"The attachment to this blog does not comprise state secrets," Pounder said in a blog post detailing the results of his enquiries. "In 'liberating' these details, the Commission has required me to exhibit an obsessive behaviour on the autistic spectrum; they have delayed wherever possible, required me to endlessly chase them up, and provided bogus arguments in order to stop the release of these details," he wrote.

"When reading this list, remember these were the deficiencies that were identified by the Commission in 2004 following [the Durant case]," he wrote. "Quite frankly, it is unacceptable for the detail of this list of problems to have been kept secret for seven years."

Copyright © 2011, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?